Shortly after the Karashi Void outbreak
With Darkblade nowhere to be found during the outbreak of the Karashi Void, Aul Celsus couldn’t help but wonder if this was some test from his Master. A test to see if he was truly fit to be the Aedile of House Shar Dakhan. Time and again, the Anzat had tossed the human scientist outside of his comfort zone, yet each and every occasion had taught Aul valuable lessons needed to succeed in the Brotherhood. Whilst the teaching methods were definitely unorthodox, in the end they produced clear results.
This wasn’t the first time Darkblade went missing during a crisis either. During Operation: Homeland the Anzat had been kept sedated as a Clawdite impersonated him. Luckily for him though, his Aedile had attempted to assassinate him and unintentionally killed the impersonator.
With his Master and Quaestor out of the equation, Aul let the depth of their current situation sink in. Taking several minutes to mull over the available options, he understood what he had to do. In order to lead, you needed the respect and trust of those you were leading. As a leader you had to bring out the best of others and help to overcome their weaknesses. No self respecting person would follow an inexperienced leader if they thought themselves superior. Right now he was the leader of House Shar Dakhan until Darkblade returned. Hesitation made way for determination. The will to succeed and become a pillar that Shar Dakhan stood upon brought a fierce light to the Mystic’s eyes.
Fishing for his comlink from under one of his belt pouches, the scientist hailed the person he would need at his side in order to create the image that the leaders of Shar Dakhan were capable of doing their jobs.
“Lilith, I need you to meet me at the Empiricalum. We need to find a way to combat the virus and come up with a plan to help our members break their invisible walls and unleash their true power,” he said with no hesitation.
“Copy that Sir. ETA will be in about four hours. Myrmidon is quite far from the Empiricalum. I needed to make sure things were ok here before I planned on heading to Seng Karash to see if I could help there,” the soft yet stern voice of Lilith greeted Auls ears.
At least she has a similar background and interests, the Aedile thought to himself as he remembered that the Battleteam Leader was a healer. Always useful to have someone around as well practiced in medicine as he was.
“Alright, I’ll be waiting for you in the labs,” the Mystic said before he turned off the comlink and began to make his way out of Lion’s Tooth.
Everything around him sounded eerily silent, as most of the guards had been reassigned to the city in order to help keep the peace as the Virus did it’s work there. A chill ran down the Aedile’s spine as the thrill of what was going to happen next got the better of him. Grinning slightly, Aul Celsus felt as if he could take on the entire galaxy.
Lilith entered the Empiricalum’s MolBio lab and let out a slight gasp. She’d visited a couple of times before during “normal working hours” and was impressed by the diligent work of the staff scientists there. Now, with apparently only Aul occupying the lab, it seemed somehow many times more chaotic and busy. Files were strewn about, with identifying images of familiar faces, tubes were placed haphazardly on racks and solutions were bubbling on hot plates. The lab was alive.
Where is Aul, actually? she thought to herself.
Lilith strolled quietly down the aisles of lab benches, her eyes scanning for any sign of life. She kept one hand on the hilt of her lightsaber, though she doubted she’d need to. Old habits die hard.
“Where’s that frakking buffer? I just had it!”
Lilith redirected her path to the shouts of frustration echoing from the back corner of the lab. As Aul came into sight she noted that she hadn’t seen him quite this energetic since… maybe ever. Shar Dakhan’s new Aedile was moving at a pace that could only be explained by enhancement with the Force, though she couldn’t remember ever seeing someone use the ability out of combat for something so seemingly mundane.
“Aul, sir, I’m here.”
Aul made no move to indicate that he’d heard the Shroud’s leader. He continued to rummage through cabinets and drawers.
“Ah ha!” came a sigh of relief, as Aul grabbed at a bottle of light blue liquid.
Lilith cleared her throat and tried once more, “Sir!”
Aul’s light blue blade came to life with a snap-hiss at the same time as the bottle came crashing to the ground, covering the floor of the lab with its contents. He spun around with a look of determination in his eyes, but laughed sheepishly when he recognized who had caught his attention. His lightsaber died out and he replaced it on his belt.
“Sorry, Lilith. I haven’t slept in… let’s see… three rotations now,” Aul said tiredly, the bags under his eyes betraying the truth that it was probably a little bit longer than that. “I’d completely forgotten that you were coming.”
“Sir, that was only a few hours ago,” Lilith said with concern. She felt this whole virus business was taking a serious toll on the Aedile.
“What? Oh, feels like that was yesterday. Um, anyway, come along quickly. Let me show you something,” Aul said over his shoulder as he made his way back to the entrance of the lab.
Back at the first row of benches, Aul stopped in front of the files of information that Lilith encountered a few moments ago.
“Do you know what these are?” Aul asked excitedly, holding up a file and a small holochip in each hand.
“It appears to be a profile of Qyreia Aronnen. And that one is Inyri Ginovef. And… the rest of Naga Sadow by the looks of it,” Lilith replied.
“Yes! A while back I asked for a DNA sample from each of Naga Sadow’s members. I wanted to see if something I’d been musing about for years was possible. Then, I never got around to it. But now with this virus spreading through the city, and probably the whole system soon, I finally put an end to the procrastination and locked myself away here. I’ve sequenced each of Naga Sadow’s genotypes and have a thorough catalog of each genetic permutation existing in our rosters. Do you know why?” Aul said with a look of anticipation.
“Um, could it be to see who’s susceptible?”
“Sort of! But not quite. See, to see if those differences between the Sadowans makes them susceptible, we’d have to infect them. Good luck getting anyone to volunteer! No, I want to approach this problem from the other side. See where the weaknesses lie and fill in the gaps, with a more controlled virus. That’s pretty much the best shot we have right now,” Aul said with satisfaction.
“I see. You can’t test the virus directly, but you can test the members, find the weaknesses, and maybe introduce some changes to enhance those who are more at risk,” Lilith responded, keeping an eye on Aul’s face to see his reactions.
“Precisely! And that’s where you come in. I need you to round up the troops, so to say, and subject them to these tests,” Aul dropped a stack of protocols in front of the Battleteam Leader. “Grab some assistants from the personnel list if you need, but I need you to record the results exactly as dictated in the protocol. We’ll then correlate the results with genome-wide associations and go from there. Understand?”
“Understood, sir,” Lilith skimmed the protocols as she responded. When she looked up finally, Aul was gone, save for the cacophony of curses once again emanating from the back of the lab.
New Sadow Palace
“Darkblade is gone,” Sang said, standing in the middle of the council chamber.
“I know,” Locke answered. “But why?”
“He seems to have left a project for his Aedile, but first he sent us this information.”
“Hm.” Locke wondered what Darkblade was up to. Was this a test for his Aedile? Information started to scroll across a large holo-screen, showing Aul’s new project and what he planned to do. It was interesting, to say the least, and at this point Locke would accept any idea that seemed remotely feasible. The Clan would have to be in the best shape possible for when the Inquisitorious decided to get more aggressive. Or when Pravus came after them. Or the Dominion. The virus that was the Karashi Void seemed to pale in comparison, but they couldn’t afford to take that lightly either.
“Give it our blessing,” Locke said. “Instruct Summit to cooperate fully with this project, and encourage all members to participate. It is in their best interest.”
“What if they scoff at the idea?” Sang asked, likely thinking of the unwieldy temperament of some of their more notorious members.
“Then send them to me,” Locke said. “An ego will get one killed in these dangerous times.”
Fiction written by Darkblade, Aul Celsus and Locke Sonjie.